The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused an application by Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong seeking the court to stop the contempt proceedings against him by an Accra High Court.
The five member panel, presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, upheld that the alleged conduct of Mr Agyapong scandalizes the court and brings the name of the court into disrepute, and as such was unable to grant his application.
The Assin Central Member of Parliament had filed an application at the court for it to prohibit the High Court from hearing the contempt case and also quash the order of summons for him to appear before the court on the basis that the particular court (Land Court 12) that summoned him had no jurisdiction to do so.
The Apex court however upheld in part both applications, saying the order to appear before the High Court to answer contempt charge is preserved, however all other proceedings before Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni was quashed.
The court said “Justice Wuni is prohibited from hearing the matter. The docket should be sent back to Registrar of the High Court for it to be put before a different High Court Judge.”
Per the ruling, Mr Agyapong would still be on trial for contempt over his alleged comments which scandalized the court and brought its name into disrepute, however, the trial will not be before Justice Wuni, who had been presiding over the matter since it commenced.
The court, also stated that it would give its full reasoning for the decision on October 20.
Earlier Counsel for Mr Agyapong, Mr Kwame Gyan, arguing his case, told the court that they were before it seeking certiorari to quash the totality of the proceedings of the High Court on the grounds of wrongful assumption of jurisdiction.
He said the alleged comments of Mr Agyapong, was not directed at the Land Court 12, but at Labour Court 2, where there was another matter.
“We are saying that he wrongfully assumed jurisdiction. He should be prohibited from hearing the case since he assumed jurisdiction in a matter that he assumed concerns him, making him an interested party.”
A Deputy Attorney General, Mr Godfred Dame, however opposed the application, saying there was no doubt that the comments made by Mr Agyapong was contemptuous, and the words clearly scandalized the court.
He said there was only one High Court in Ghana and therefore any Justice of the High Court could assume jurisdiction in a contempt matter so far that the contemptuous act was directed at the High Court.
Mr Dame said if the content of the publication constitutes anything that scandalized the court, then the filing of the charges by the High Court judge was appropriate.
“The application is flawed and unmeritorious”, he added.
The five-member Supreme Court panel was presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, with Justices Yaw Appau, Gabriel Pwamang, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amdau and Yonny Kulendi.
Mr Agyapong is alleged to have made statements deemed contemptuous in the case in which one Susan Bandoh and Christopher Akuetteh Kotei had sued him (Agyapong), one Ibrahim Jaja, Nana Yaw Duodu aka Sledge and the Inspector General of Police in a land dispute.
Whiles the case was still pending, the Court’s attention was drawn to a television (NET2 TV) and radio (Oman FM) programme allegedly aired on September 2, this year, where the MP was said to have “scandalized and threatened” the court.
A court order, signed on September 9, by Justice Wuni, said: “I hereby summon the said Kennedy Ohene Agyapong per a warrant issued under my hand and seal to appear before the High Court (Land Court 12) on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 1000 hours to show cause why he should not be severely punished for contempt, if the matters are proven against him to the satisfaction of the court.”